Beyond the Bricks: Week of 4/19


<a>All Starbucks Will Close for a Day for Implicit Bias Training

After an incident where two black men were arrested under suspicion of trespassing at a Starbucks in downtown Philadelphia, Starbucks' executive chairman, Howard Shultz, announced that all locations will close on May 29, 2018. During the closure of 8,000 stores, 175,000 employees will receive anti-bias training.

The video of two men being arrested in Starbucks went viral after a woman posted it on twitter on April 12, 2018. The men were released after Starbucks declined to press charges. The men asked to use the bathroom but were denied as they hadn't purchased anything. They sat down instead, but were asked to leave. The police were called to the scene, but the men still refused to leave, stating that they were meeting a friend. The friend arrived near the end of the situation, but the men involved in the altercation were taken away in handcuffs. 

Shultz consulted a nonprofit public-policy firm, Demos, about his idea for anti-bias training. The president of Demos said that Shultz felt personally accountable for what occurred, and hopes to prevent it from happening in the future.

Female Politicians Make History with Childcare

Two female politicians weren't afraid to address issues of childcare this week. Liuba Grechen Shirley, a congressional candidate in Long Island, N.Y., has requested the use of her campaign funds to pay a babysitter for her children — age one and three — while she tends to campaigning tasks.

“We need to break institutional barriers that are holding back women from running for office,” Grechen Shirley said at a rally for State Senate Democrats and Congressional candidates on Sunday, April 15, 2018.

Grechen Shirley is looking for permission from the Federal Election Committee, which approves the use of campaign funds. The FEC allowed campaign funds to be used in 1995 for former Louisiana Rep. Jim McCrery's wife to attend campaign events with him.

Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth voted on the Senate floor while holding her newborn child, making her the first person in history to do so. The rules for allowing newborns on the floor were changed the night before in a unanimous vote. Now, senators are allowed to bring children under one year of age onto the floor with them. Breastfeeding is also allowed.

Duckworth was also the first woman to give birth while in office. She was the one to spearhead the change to the long-outdated rules. Duckworth tweeted the baby's outfit, stating "Made sure she has a jacket so she doesn't violate the Senate floor dress code requiring blazers. Not sure what the policy is on duckling onesies but I think we're ready."

Tax Filing Deadline Extended After a Computer Crash

The IRS gave taxpayers an extra day to file after multiple problems with their online filing system on Tax Day — April 17, 2018. A computer malfunction disrupted the agency's website, causing alarm to taxpayers and filing agencies alike. The systems that went down included e-file and direct pay, which allow taxpayers to pay through their bank accounts.

Last year, about 90 percent of tax returns were filed through the online e-file system. Five million tax returns were filed on the last day of filing season at the time, indicating that millions of people could have been affected by the computer malfunction.

House lawmakers are voting on a bill this week to modernize the IRS's information technology systems; however, the bill does not include any increase in funding.